Biology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 5-24-2022


Climate change related drought is projected to harm maize production. Water use strategies can help mitigate the impact of drought on crop yield. However, little is known about maize metabolic response to drought at different developmental stages. To shed light on this, drought conditions were applied to maize at the six-leaf stage (V6), twelve leaf stage (V12), and tassel stage (VT). V6 and VT took eight days to achieve a low stomatal conductance threshold, but V12 took 16 days. Differential gene expression analysis of the transcriptome indicates that V6 showed the most response with 53 impacted metabolic pathways, many of which indicated cellular damage and a reduced stress tolerance. V6 showed water conservation. Twelve and ten pathways were modulated under drought conditions at the V12 and VT stages, respectively. V12 had pathway modulation indicating water conservation and improved stress tolerance. VT responses focused on growth and development, not water conservation.

Project Sponsors

CSES Student Fellowship; Shawn Starkenburg of B10 Division, LANL


maize; metabolic pathways, drought, transcriptomics, developmental stages, bioinformatics

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

David T. Hanson Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Shawn R. Starkenburg Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Sanna A. Sevanto Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Donald Natvig Ph.D.


A transcriptomics analysis of B73 maize under drought at different developmental stages, including metabolic pathway enrichment.